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Debbie NorwitzEach Monday, we are posting a blog to help our readers get to know the media just a little bit better.

With a TWIST!

No, we aren’t posting story pitch tips or media lists, but instead great stories from the media themselves about their lives, their work and other little known facts! Think of it as your first “networking” opportunity of the week!

Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Debbie Norwitz, who just launched Arizona’s Voice.

So, Debbie, time to share!

What do you want to tell the blogosphere about Arizona’s Voice and yourself today?

Arizona’s Voice has been 42 years in the making. It all started when Jerry Story published nonprofit events and activities in his Arizona Pennysaver. Back then he helped 3,000 to 4,000 nonprofits every month. It took five people, working full time, to open the mail and keystroke each and every public service announcement (PSA). Jerry did what no other media would do; he guaranteed nonprofits had a voice.

Jerry sold the Arizona Pennysaver in 1977 to Cox Enterprises, the predecessors of today’s East Valley Tribune. Cox stopped publishing PSAs in Pennysaver, saying that was the job of daily newspapers. At the time Cox owned the Scottsdale Progress, the Tempe Daily News, and the Mesa Tribune. Cox paid an outside research firm to conduct a survey to determine which media was most admired by the community. The results of that survey showed the Arizona Pennysaver was more admired by the community than were TV, radio or daily newspapers. At that time Pennysaver was doing more than all other media to publish nonprofit events and activities that benefitted millions of Phoenicians.

Jerry has kept himself busy, since the sale of his Pennysaver, as a consultant to other publishers like the Detroit News, Community Press Newspapers, Dow Jones Ottawa Newspaper Group, Freedom Newspapers, Rupert Murdoch’s Australian Pennysavers, Buck Owens Kern Shopper, and the Bakersfield Californian.

He also published Connect With Life and Loving Pets magazines, respectively, and started House2Home Magazine with Rick Cluff. More recently Jerry built The HomeMag in Phoenix for Sean Campbell, whose publications reach more than five million homeowners nationwide.

Additionally, Jerry helped Phoenix nonprofits by raising more than $100,000 for Phoenix Suns Charities and millions more for local schools and Valley youth organizations by publishing a fundraising program called the Best Deals “The Deck.”

Today, Jerry is building “Arizona’s Voice” magazine and “VoiceAZ.com” to again support the nonprofit community!

Jerry is joined by me (Debbie Norwitz). I will serve as editor and bring several years of experience to the role including as former editor of editor of “Loving Pets,” “Living Good,” “EcoSmart,” and “Improve Your Home” magazines.

Ross Miljenovich, formally with Arizona Homes & Land and Associate Publisher of Arizona’s Guest Informant joins us as associate publisher, and Jerry’s son, Paul Story, is also on board managing all print and internet production. Together we publish VoiceAZ.com and are preparing to launch Arizona’s Voice magazine online and in print.

Nonprofits and businesses will find the “Voice” an excellent choice to promote their news and activities when involved in the community. It’s easy to register and open an account online. Advertisers will benefit from and appreciate the connection the “Voice” has with nonprofits and the public.

As editor of the “Voice,” I wanted to provide a bit of my personal history too.

My ex and I and our two kids moved to Scottsdale in 1974. We immediately opened an independent bookstore called The Thunderbird Bookshop, which we operated for 10 years. Early on I became involved with community activities, such as author signings with such distinguished authors as Elleston Trevor, who wrote The Flight of the Phoenix, and Og Mandino, perhaps best-known for Greatest Salesman in the World. Our bookstore also had a booth in the very first Scottsdale Culinary Festival.  Along with a number of other independent bookstores we developed The Independent Booksellers Association, which still operates today.

Even at the age of three, my very talented daughter started showing her acting and dancing skills. She competed in many local dance competitions and performed in many theatrical performances. She also auditioned and got a bit part in a Columbia teen flick Just One of the Guys. Taking her to rehearsals, so far from our Scottsdale home soon became very time consuming, so much so that I decided to start ACTS, Associated Children’s Theatre of Scottsdale and DramaQuest, a playwriting competition for all Arizona Students. I was very proud that ACTS was one of the first children’s theatres to produce “Fame” on stage. I even received the J.C. Penny Award for my contribution to the community.

After my divorce I decided to do something pretty drastic. Gathering all my wits and settling my affairs, I took off for a three-month solo-backpacking trip through England, Europe, Scandinavia and Ireland; this was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life.

Jerry and I have worked together in a variety of projects for the past 25 years. He is a phenomenal partner with a heart of gold. Producing the “Voice” is a project that fits so remarkably well into both our lives. The “Voice” is our way to support our community.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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